Periodically, Shepastor stops to reflect upon the journeys of particular women in ministry. Today, we will highlight The Rev. Carolyn Clark, Associate Minister at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, Ohio. I have been privileged to know and love Rev. Clark as a sister and family friend for more than 20 years. Vibrant, sassy, bold, funny and tenacious are a few words that accurately describe her. She is a woman of great faith. She is also a five times over cancer survivor.
I watched her as she pressed her way through seminary. I watched her as she pressed her way through a demanding Clinical Pastoral Education program through the Veteran’s Administration – earning 5 CPE units. And I watched her, undaunted as she experienced bouts of cancer – breast cancer, double mastectomy, cancer in the knee, cancer in her thyroid, spots of cancer in other parts of her body. None of these challenges, however, kept her from coming to church, preaching when given an opportunity, singing solos and encouraging others – always encouraging others.
Yesterday I learned that cancer has invaded, intruded, crept up once again – this time in her lungs. I called Rev. Clark today to see how she was doing. We chatted, laughed and talked about how this “fella cancer just doesn’t seem to get it – he keeps comin back!” We talked about how she has more lives than “the cat with nine!” But then seriously, we talked about how this is impacting her spirit. Rev. Clark responded, “Chrissy, after all I’ve been through and am still alive, I know that my experiences are meant to help encourage somebody else – to let them know that they can make it too. God still has work for me to do.”
What a testimony! I love and appreciate my sister, Rev. Clark. Truly she is the embodiment of II Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV,
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.Oh the lessons we can learn from Rev. Clark. Maybe we don’t have cancer, but we all face trials, struggles, disappointments, setbacks, pain and at times, confusion. May we learn to mentally and spiritually reframe our plight. May we see our experiences as opportunities to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
Surely, we don’t know what tomorrow holds. But if our hope is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ our Lord, we know who holds tomorrow. Please join me in prayer for Rev. Clark. God is able, and He won’t fail.
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,